Poem: Open Space

Poetry Prompts from the New York Times


The New York Times and I have a long, one-sided relationship that includes a very sniffy rejection letter for a job I applied for ages ago. Whatever. It's still my favorite paper. Lately it has been sending me poetry prompts for which I am very grateful. I should explain. Every day in my feed reader I get the headlines (and links) for articles in the Well section, and many of them seem like the beginnings of poems. (A few also sound spectacularly unrelated to wellness, but I digress.)

Some examples:

Sadder but wiser? Maybe not

With this weed, I thee wed

Your cat might not be ignoring you when you speak

Tell us about your friends

Falling for your sperm donor

No more hiding

Aren't they great! I really want to hear the poems that start with these first lines. At a certain point I have to start writing them, right?

Anyway. Another source of inspiration has been The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On, the new book by Franny Choi. I'm in the middle of reading it, and my favorite line so far is "Every day of my life has been something other than my last." from one of the poems with the (same) title "Upon Learning That Some Korean War Refugees Used Partially Detonated Napalm Canisters as Cooking Fuel." This is powerful work, y'all.

The Poetry Friday roundup for December 9th is at artist & author Michelle Kogan's blog.

Photo: "Iced Tea at the Diner," by ST


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Susan, that's brilliant! See, it's still serving you, even if they were silly enough not to hire you. Thanks for this poem-starter idea...

Thanks, Laura! I like the idea that the paper is still serving me. Now I'm thinking these prompts could make a whole collection. Well, once I write the actual poems...

Ha! Yes, write those poems! I'll bet the Times would be interested in reading a collection of poems based on their own headlines. Love it!

Ha, Linda! I do think these would be such fun to write. I've been collecting them for a while, but it's getting time to just get to it.

Now I'll never look at those headlines in the same way again, Susan. I hope you do write from them & share. Thanks for the extra link to that new book, too!

You're welcome, Linda. Thank you for reading! The Franny Choi book really is good.

Susan, some of those headlines are really funny so have fun with them. Thank you for this quote.,"Every day of my life has been something other than my last." It is so inspirational. Just keep on going in life and enjoy each day.

Thanks for stopping by, Carol. I stopped in my tracks, mentally, when I read that line by Franny Choi. Very powerful.

OMG - love those headliner poems! I'll be reading my daily NYT feed with new eyes!

Your introductory paragraph made me laugh! (Sorry for making mirth from your pain!!)

The poem starters are fantastic, and Franny Choi's book sounds like a must-read. Thanks!

Patricia, see if you see some poems in those headlines!

hahaha, Mary Lee. No more pain from the NYT, just our lopsided relationship. Well, okay, our non-relationship. I came up with one poem already. Reading Poetry Friday posts on Saturday morning always inspires.

I think I get the Well section to, but read more of "The Morning." These are intriguing and yes do get busy and start those poems. Thanks for Franny Choi's link, her poem she read is wonderful!

You're welcome, Michelle! And thank you for hosting Poetry Friday. I got interested in Franny Choi's work after listening to her and Danez Smith on the "Vs." podcast; they have such good rapport and are very funny together. They're no longer hosts of the show but you can still access their episodes.

What great place for inspiration! I'll be looking at the the headlines from the NYT a little differently now, I think.

For sure, Rose! For space reasons (I assume), the feed headlines are usually shorter and therefore catchier and funny. They do a good job of catching your attention in a hurry.

I also get their daily newsletter. I don't pay to read the articles, but like you said, the titles are intriguing. What a great idea to use them to prompt poetry. The challenge is on!

That Franny Choi line is wonderful. So simple, but so much there.
That list of prompts reads like a found poem itself and now I can't wait to read the poems that come from these lines. :)
The NYT doesn't know what they are missing!

Margaret, yes, a challenge! I wrote one already, very silly, but hope to get another going before the next Poetry Friday.

Karen, yes, that line is so simple and profound. And those prompts definitely could be a found poem!

You are correct - these are great opening lines. I particularly would love to read a poem titles "Falling in Love with Your Sperm Donor"! :)

Hahaha. That's a good one, right?

"Every day of my life has been something other than my last." -- I'm going to save this one!

It's a good one! Thanks for stopping by.

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